Deuteronomy 28 – Why Follow the Rules?

Remember when life was simple? “If you eat your vegetables, then you can have desert.” “Raise your hand to be recognized.” “Treat others well and they will treat you well.” The simplicity of that time could be boiled down to this axiom…Follow the rules and get the rewards.

For many people, Deuteronomy chapter 28 seems to awaken that axiom. This chapter seems to give us something tangible, do-able and controllable. It appears to make life simple again.

But life was never really that simple. It just seemed that simple.

Now before you think I’m casting doubt on God’s Word, let me explain. It is important that we do the right things. It is important that we obey God. And God does bless those who are obedient to follow His commands.

But the theme of this chapter (and all of Scripture) is not, “Put the right quarter in the right slot and you will get the right gum ball out.” It’s not about doing the right things in order to get the right rewards. It’s really about doing the right things out of a right relationship…which is it’s own reward. In other words, it’s not about the doing, it’s about the devotion. (John 15:4)

It’s about a feed back loop. Devotion leads to demonstration. This deepens devotion, which in turn multiplies demonstration, etc. You can see how this applies to a relationship with God and with others in Matthew 22:36-40. By the way, this is also fitting for marriage.

So ask yourself this question, “Am I doing things for God out of devotion or demand?”

Deuteronomy 27 – The Creation of a Nation

How do you create a nation? What makes it a nation? What are the key elements of a nation?

Deuteronomy chapter 27, tells us about the forming of the nation of Israel. (Deuteronomy 27:9b) Like other nations, they separated from the rule they were under and fought to defend their freedom.

But it takes more than just separation and defense to make a nation. A new nation must not only abandon old rules, but it must also adopt new rules. To fail to do this is to create anarchy.

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Deuteronomy 22 – Lines

We seldom stop and consider the importance  of something as simple as a line.

Lines give us definition and clarity. A property line defines exactly what belongs to us and what belongs to our neighbor, thus clarifying disputes. Lines can also direct, like the lines on the highways and streets which direct the flow of traffic. Lines promote order. Imagine the chaos at banks, supermarkets, and sporting events if there were no lines? And lines provide separation, as with lines of defense, lines on a coloring book, and poverty lines.

You can even hear the importance of lines in certain phrases we use. Phrases like: “That lines up with what I believe.” “I’m drawing a line in the sand.” “He crossed over the line.”

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Deuteronomy 21 – Rules and Regulations

We have rules and regulations to protect the innocent, punish the guilty, preserve the peace, and promote the general welfare. There’s just one problem…they don’t work!

Deuteronomy chapter 21 gives rules and regulations about a variety of things. When you read it, you can’t help but wonder why they needed all these specific rules and regulations.

The same is true today. There are more rules and regulations in our world than we can probably count, and we keep making more. Why? Because they don’t work! We keep finding new ways to break them, or new offenses that need new rules and regulations.

It’s not that rules and regulations are wrong, or that we should do away with them. (Even God saw the need for at least ten commandments.) It’s just that the problem(s) addressed by these rules and regulations will never be solved by regulating what we do with our hands. More than regulating our hands, we need to renovate our hearts. More than behavioral change, we need personal change…for what we do comes out of who we are. (Matt. 15:19)

There is a deep and pervasive limp in our very nature that leads us to be rule breakers. And we can’t fix this on our own. The law can’t cut it, because we can’t follow it. Yet, rather than being burdened by this, we belly up to the bar of self-sufficiency and order another round of rules.

We don’t need a new law; we need a new heart. We need to let God change the law of our heart. (Hebrews 10:16) Then we will have the power and desire to follow the laws and regulations we have…not out of obligation or fear of punishment, but out of love. (Rom. 7:6,7,14)

Are you paying more attention to the rules and regulations, or to the renovation of your heart?

I Learned 3 Simple Marriage Rules From a Preschooler

Last weekend, I learned three simple marriage rules from a preschooler when I picked up my four-year-old granddaughter for a much needed date. It was a standard date for us: getting some much-needed essentials from the toy store, catching up on the latest children’s literature at the bookstore, and topping it all off with some elegant dining at the local Chick-fil-A.

Among all the things she talked about (and she had a lot to talk about,) she filled me in on the latest news from her pre-K class. As she was catching me up on all the juicy Pre-K news, she told me her teacher expected everyone in her class to follow three rules:

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